County gets back on feet after blaze

August 10, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - One day after the Morgan County Courthouse was destroyed by fire, government offices were open and temporary operations were being planned for the county parking area behind the courthouse.

Morgan County Commissioner Bob Ford said three temporary housing units will be delivered today and Friday, and county offices with telephones and computers will be set up beginning Monday.

Three 24-foot-by-56-foot modular units in the parking area will house the sheriff's tax office, the assessor's office and offices for the county clerk, circuit clerk, county commission and prosecuting attorney.

Those offices will hopefully be back in operation the middle of next week, Ford said.

Del. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, said Wednesday he was pleased to see the county getting back on its feet quickly.

"I have seen county officials and employees work tirelessly to minimize the disruption of service to Morgan County citizens," he said.


Trump praised the fire and rescue companies. He said with a disaster like this to have "no loss of life and to save all the records, it's remarkable."

Who? What? Where?

Morgan County officials said Wednesday that telephone inquiries for the offices for the circuit and county clerks, prosecuting attorney, assessor, county commission and planning commission should be made to 304-258-8400.

Office of Emergency Services Director David Michael said "in-person inquiries and transactions" for the offices of the circuit and county clerk and prosecuting attorney should be made at the Magistrate Court Building at 111 Fairfax St.

Circuit Clerk Kim Jackson said circuit court documents also may be filed by facsimile at 304-258-4100.

Jackson said criminal trials most likely will be held in the Morgan County Board of Education office at 247 Harrison St. All other court hearings will be held in the Magistrates' courtroom at 111 Fairfax St.

Jackson said family court will be held Tuesday, but other court dates are not scheduled.

Morgan County Clerk Debra Kesecker said copies of official documents like marriage, birth or death certificates that are needed immediately may be obtained through the Vital Registration Office in Charleston, W.Va. The telephone number is 304-558-2931.

Kesecker said county records were sent to Chicago to be restored and will be back as soon as possible. The records suffered water damage Tuesday.

If a marriage certificate is needed immediately, people should apply in another county. Kesecker sugggested the Berkeley County Clerk's office in Martinsburg, W.Va. The telephone number is 304-264-1927.

The assessor's office and the county commission and planning offices will be housed at the West Virginia University Extension Office at 129 Fairfax St., and any in-person inquiries and transactions may be made there, Michael said.

County Assessor John Allen Swaim said assessment forms will be accepted beginning today.

County Planner Alma Gorse said building permit information and applications may be obtained from the county Web site at

The Morgan County Sheriff and deputies are temporarily housed at the W. Va. State Police barrack on U.S. 522.

Any telephone inquires for the law enforcement division and the tax office may be made to 304-258-1067.

In-person inquiries and transactions for the Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement Division and Tax Office may not be made until Monday at the earliest.

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